So, early in 2019 what are the trends coming through for 2019? Inevitably in this Brexit year there will be a trend towards more British products in our stores? Although I sincerely hope there is no impact on the many amazing European products with which we supply retailers throughout the UK, some retailers are moving towards a higher percentage British offering. I am over at ISM this week, so you might think I am in the wrong place as it will mainly be European suppliers we are seeing. However, it is difficult to imagine Christmas without panettone or stollen! What may happen is that more retailers ask wholesalers to buy non-British products on their behalf instead of tying themselves up in paperwork. 

Undoubtedly, there is a strong trend towards products with biodegradable, compostable packaging. The technology is moving fast in this area and there is more desire currently from producers to green up than packaging materials available, but this is changing on a monthly basis as everyone knows that swift change is required. At Cotswold Fayre we are hosting a conference in May, purely looking at ways to become more environmentally-friendly. Towards a Greener Future will be for Cotswold Fayre suppliers and the wider industry. If you are interested in coming, please contact me via Twitter @paul_hargreaves

Finally, this week, I forecast that products ‘with a cause’ will feature more heavily on retail shelves over the coming year. Consumers are moving away from traditional brands whose only interest is making as much profit as possible and increasingly buying into brands that are changing the world for better. Tony’s Chocolonely is one of these brands, which has eliminating slavery within chocolate plantations as its main aim. Like Cotswold Fayre, they are part of a growing movement of ethical companies called B Corporations. Consumers are excited about buying products that are making a difference and I believe we will see more consumer power coming through in 2019. 

Have a great week – and turn off the news if you are bored of Brexit and do something different!